Category Archives: NTO (National Tourist Offices)

New Murabba Development Company partners with Tourism Development Fund to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life

New Murabba Development Company (NMDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tourism Development Fund (TDF) to spearhead the transformation of Riyadh. The agreement will see the two entities work closely together to create New Murabba: the world’s largest , modern downtown, serving as a model for future urban development and contributing towards Riyadh city’s evolution, in line with Vision 2030. NMDC’s strategic partnership with TFD marks a pivotal moment in realization of New Murabba’s bold ambition to create the most advanced, transformative, downtown experience in the world. It aims to fulfil Saudi Arabia’s potential as a leading investment destination — a place where people live, work, and play. A go-to tourism and hospitality hotspot distinguished by a thriving tech ecosystem, an enabling business environment and a diverse and welcoming society. The MoU was signed by New Murabba Development Company CEO, Michael Dyke and TDF CEO, Qusai bin Abdullah Al-Fakhri. As part of the agreement, TDF will provide direct financing opportunities — in collaboration with its network of partners and contracted investors, which solidifies NMDC’s access to TDF’s expertise, networks and investment capabilities. The agreement is poised to unlock New Murabba’s immense potential, placing Riyadh it at the forefront of global destinations and showcasing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to innovative, sustainable urban development, cultural richness, and unparalleled visitor experiences on the world stage. Qusai bin Abdullah Al-Fakhri, CEO, TDF, said: “We are pleased to have partnered with the New Murabba Development Company to bring this bold undertaking to life: an innovative undertaking that will enhance Riyadh’s status on the global stage as one of the commercial and financial capitals of the world. This is a future-focused …

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Saudi Arabia’s achievement of welcoming +100 million tourists receives global recognition from UN Tourism and WTTC

Saudi Arabia has received international recognition and applause from UN Tourism and the World Travel & Tourism Council for its remarkable achievement of welcoming over 100 million tourists in 2023. This accomplishment significantly surpassed the previous target set for 2030, positioning Saudi Arabia as an emerging global tourism powerhouse. The Ministry of Tourism announced that the Kingdom has achieved this milestone seven years ahead of the initial goal according to the latest data. Motivated by this success, the Kingdom has now set a new ambitious target of welcoming 150 million tourists by 2030. Tourism has proven to be a significant contributor to the nation’s economy, with domestic and international tourists spending over 250 billion riyals in 2023. This expenditure represents over 4% of GDP and 7% of the non-oil GDP reflecting the crucial role of tourism in diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy. H.E. Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb, commented: “This announcement demonstrates the scale of our transformation since the National Tourism Strategy was launched five years ago. Tourism is a key pillar in the nation’s economic transformation under Vision 2030, creating jobs and revenue for the Kingdom. We thank both UN Tourism and WTTC as valued partners in our journey for their shared commitment to a sustainable and prosperous tourism sector.” “The tourism ecosystem continues to operate in line with the national tourism strategy by developing diverse tourist destinations. Our aim is to enrich the experiences of tourists, diversify options for both local and international visitors, and enhance hospitality facilities along with other services provided. We are committed to aligning with top-tier international experiences and practices. This approach contributes to shaping a prosperous future for our tourism industry, improving the quality of …

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Qatar tourism unveils first festival of lights

Qatar Tourism has unveiled Qatar’s first Festival of Lights, Noor, on February 21 and running until March 2 at Al Saad Square in Darb Lusail, concluding the winter season. The first festival of its kind in Qatar, open to the public daily from 18:00 to midnight, is based on providing a unique and enjoyable visual experience, accompanied by the installation of approximately 20 interactive models distributed over five experiences, in addition to theatrical performances, and other performances suitable for all ages. Noor Festival will host world-renowned bands such as Candela, Buggy and Woogie, to entertain people of different cultures and contemporary life, suitable for different ages and tastes. Artistic and theatrical performances will also be accompanied by musical performances by artists from the region and the world. Commenting on the festival, Eng. Abdulaziz Al Mawlawi, Head of Tourism Marketing and Promotion at Qatar Tourism, said: “We are concluding the winter season with the same momentum that the season has witnessed since its inception several months ago, with a festival that is the first of its kind in Qatar, combining innovation and dazzling, and suitable for all ages and tastes. This festival reflects Qatar Tourism’s interest and focus on diversifying the annual events calendar in line with our position as a distinguished family tourism destination, and in line with our strategic objectives. Qatar Tourism continues to strengthen our collaboration withall partners in the tourism sector, and we are delighted to partner with Qatari Diar to host this unique festival.” Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Coordinates the country’s real estate development priorities and is the Official Partner of Noor Festival. Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Ahmed Al Tayeb, Chief Investment Officer at …

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Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi Highlights Focus on Excellence through Sustainability Conference and Quality Certification System

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the Department of Economic Development Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi held a conference to discuss various themes contributing to tourism excellence to further build capacity in the emirate’s tourism sector,  in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization’s Academy (UNWTO Academy). Aiming to further build capacity in the emirate’s tourism sector, DCT Abu Dhabi and UNWTO Academy also recently introduced the UNWTO.QUEST Certification for quality assurance in the industry, and the UNWTO. TedQual Certification, a programme which aims to enhance the quality of tourism education, training and research programmes in UAE universities. Titled ‘Sustainability and Competitiveness: Tourism Potentials and Challenges’, the conference brought together experts in sustainability and tourism, and helped attendees develop an understanding of the role of diversity, equity, inclusion, sustainability, and strategic leadership in enhancing destination competitiveness. The conference agenda discussed practices and strategies that could be adopted by tourism stakeholders to contribute to the development of more a competitive and responsible tourism destination. Among the attendees were H.E. Hala Khaled Al Ameri, Executive Director of the Competitiveness Office of Abu Dhabi (COAD) at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development; H.E. Hanan Ahli, Director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre; and Mr. Ammar Anwar Sajwani, Director of Tourism Development Department, UAE Ministry of Economy. H.E. Saeed Ali Obaid Al Fazari, Executive Director of Strategic Affairs at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Through various initiatives, we are enabling industry-wide discussions that contribute to a sustainable tourism future. With a focus on education, we are keen to deliver continued tourism excellence, channelling innovation through a fresh lens. Encouraging these vital discussions is key to creating enduring, …

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Wego and Hong Kong Tourism Board forge dynamic partnership to boost tourism

Wego announced a strategic partnership with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) with the goal of positioning Hong Kong as a leading global travel destination for GCC. Wego is eager to collaborate with HKTB to highlight Hong Kong’s distinct attractions, cultural richness, and modern allure. The Hong Kong Tourism Board eagerly welcomes this collaboration, recognizing Wego’s expansive reach and user-friendly platform as instrumental in highlighting the allure and distinctiveness of Hong Kong. From its seamless fusion of modernity and tradition to the plethora of experiences – be it the iconic skyscrapers and bustling markets or the serene landscapes and exquisite cuisine – Hong Kong captivates travelers with its diversity. In expressing his anticipation for the collaboration, Mamoun Hmedan, Chief Business Officer of Wego, commented, “Embarking on this exciting venture with the Hong Kong Tourism Board allows us to showcase the extraordinary offerings of this world-class destination. Wego’s commitment to inspiring and facilitating travel experiences aligns seamlessly with our goal of presenting Hong Kong’s diverse tapestry to a global audience. This partnership underscores our joint dedication to promoting exceptional destinations and curating unforgettable journeys.” Utilizing Wego’s digital platform, the co-marketing initiative will spotlight Hong Kong’s key attractions, provide insider travel tips. This collaboration aims to position Hong Kong as the ultimate destination for travelers in search of a harmonious blend of culture, innovation, and unparalleled experiences. Puneet Kumar, Director, South Asia and Middle East of Hong Kong Tourism Board said: “We are excited to partner with Wego Middle East in creatively presenting Hong Kong to all travel enthusiasts in the GCC. Hong Kong has become more accessible for GCC nationals with improved daily air connectivity and visa-free travel. We’re excited to …

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Oman tourism launches Masarat 2.0 to empower Omani youth

Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group), in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, and its subsidiaries, Visit Oman and Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC),  announced the launch of MASARAT 2.0. This ground-breaking initiative, falling under the umbrella of the #IAmTourism strategy, marking a significant stride towards Oman’s Vision 2040 for youth empowerment. MASARAT 2.0, an expansion of the successful inaugural MASARAT programme launched last year. marking a significant step forward, the program boasts an expanded network of participating entities, solidifying the group’s unwavering commitment to fostering young talent and equipping them with the skills they need to thrive in the tourism industry. Said Al Manji , head of initiatives and projects section at Ministry of Labour emphasised, “The MASARAT 2.0 programme is a prime example of effective public-private partnerships. It aligns seamlessly with the Ministry’s goals to create sustainable employment opportunities for Omani youth, thereby contributing to our nation’s long-term economic prosperity.” Wiam Al Marhubi, Human Capital Generalist at OMRAN Group, commented, “Through MASARAT 2.0, we are not just offering jobs; we are crafting careers. We are equipping our talented youth with the necessary skills to excel and lead in the tourism sector, as well as broadening its horizons. OCEC’s CEO, Eng. Said Al Shanfari, remarked, “Integrating fresh perspectives and innovative ideas from the youth is vital for our growth. MASARAT 2.0 provides us with an opportunity to bring in fresh talent who will drive the future of the MICE industry in Oman.” Shabib Al Mamaari, Managing Director of Visit Oman, added, “Our participation in MASARAT 2.0 reflects our commitment to the future of tourism in Oman. By fostering fresh talent, we ensure the continued growth and prosperity of …

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Turespaña, the Spain tourism office for the GCC unveils 2023 figures 56% compared to 2019

It was revealed that Spain recorded 56% increase of GCC travellers in 2023 compared to 2019 with a 33% increase compared to 2022. Saudi Arabia can be presented as the prime example of this growth, with more than 100% increase 19-23 and with a 92% increase in 23-22, the total number of Saudi tourists has surged up to 182 thousand, surpassing UAE as the main GCC market for Spain, and consolidating its status and the country’s vision for 2030. United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait follow after with this trend. The total number of GCC residents visiting Spain in 2023 reached 434 thousand, with an average stay of 8.6 days and a notable increase in expenditure. Factors such as good weather, family-friendly environments, and cultural resonance including the great arab legacy attract GCC travelers to Spain. Looking ahead to 2024, Spain aims to further consolidate its position as a top destination for Middle Eastern travelers through marketing campaigns, strategic alliances and multiple events. In line with this, Spain Tourism recently concluded a successful roadshow across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE, showcasing various regions and offerings of Spain to travel trade partners. The event facilitated networking and collaboration opportunities, emphasizing Spain’s commitment to providing unforgettable experiences for Middle Eastern travelers. Commenting on the success of the roadshow,Daniel Rosado, Director/Tourism Counsellor at Spain Tourism, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are delighted with the positive response and engagement we received during our roadshow in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. These regions hold immense potential for Spanish tourism, and our collaboration with travel trade partners has strengthened our commitment to providing unforgettable experiences for Middle Eastern travelers.” The roadshow aligns with Spain Tourism’s broader …

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Ajman Tourism announces the hosting of the 2026 Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships

In order to strengthen its position as an emirate dedicated to promote sports tourism, the Ajman Department of Tourism Development (ADTD) announced that it will be hosting the 57th International Fitness and Bodybuilding – IFBB ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS in 2026, a move aimed at fortifying its standing as a premier sports tourism destination. The announcement was made today at a press conference held at the Ajman Police Sports and Shooting Club. His Highness Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Ajman Department of Tourism Development (ADTD), presided over the press conference alongside key figures such as His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Saif al-Sharqi, President of the UAE Federation for Body Building and Physical Strength, Dr. Rafael Santoga, President of the International Federation of Bodybuilding, and Dr. Eng. Adel Fahim, President of the Arab and African Bodybuilding Federation, among others. The Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship, organized and sponsored by the Ajman Department of Tourism Development, will serve as a unique opportunity for Ajman to showcase its diversity and appeal as a sports tourism hub. The tournament is scheduled to take place in May 2026, further solidifying Ajman’s reputation as a host of prominent international sporting events. In addition to the main competition, the event will feature side activities that offer visitors a chance to experience the local culture and heritage of Ajman. These include folk arts, traditional cuisine, and artistic performances, enriching the overall visitor experience. Ajman also plans to enhance its tourism services in preparation for the 2026 Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Championship. A range of offerings, from accommodation facilities to shopping and entertainment experiences, will be tailored to meet the expectations of guests. Through these …

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Qatar Tourism participates in Mumbai 2024, one of Asia’s leading travel exhibitions

Qatar Tourism led a delegation of 13 hospitality partners to the Mumbai 2024 Outbound Travel Show, one of Asia’s leading travel exhibitions. The exhibition is a platform for Qatar Tourism to present its latest offerings in the Indian markets and meet more than 35,000 travel and tourism professionals. The three-day exhibition schedule, from February 8 to 10, will be held at the Geo World Convention Centre in Mumbai. For the third consecutive year, Qatar Tourism won the ‘Best Design and Decoration’ award for its pavilion at the awards ceremony at the exhibition, where Qatar Tourism recorded its largest participation in the exhibition, opening a two-storey pavilion spread over a large area of 200 square meters. The pavilion showcased unique activities, through which visitors were able to experience visual simulations of Qatar’s wildlife, interact closely with it on the LED screen, and take souvenir photos. The exhibition was a great opportunity for Qatar Tourism to participate in the leading markets identified by the 2030 Strategy. In 2023, Qatar welcomed around 420,000 visitors from India, accounting for 10% of the total international visitors for that year, making it the second most visited after Saudi Arabia. The Qatar Tourism Pavilion featured a number of travel and tourism partners, including Qatar Airways, Discover Qatar, Qatar Calendar and Hilton Beach Resort.Salwa, Rixos Hotel at Qetaifan Island North, Chedi Katara Hotel & Resort, Resort Marsa Malaz Kempinski, Rixos Gulf Hotel, Sheraton Hotel, Q Moments such as Destination Management Companies (DMC), company Conciliation Travel & Tourism, Regency Travel & Tourism, Ali Bin Ali Travel & Tourism.

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Visit Qatar and Qatar Airways launch stopover packages

Visit Qatar and Qatar Airways have announced the launch of Doha stopover packages as part of their efforts to promote Qatar as a leading tourist destination to be added to final passenger journeys, at a press conference held by His Excellency Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, President of Qatar Tourism, and Eng. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Group Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Airways, in the presence of a group of international media representatives on an extensive familiarization trip to Doha, at Msheireb, Downtown Doha. Visit Qatar plays a key role in strengthening partnerships with government entities and encouraging investments, as well as supporting private sector engagement to ensure the growth of the hospitality and tourism sectors. It works to strengthen Qatar’s position as a leading tourism destination while preserving its rich cultural heritage. Visit Qatar’s efforts are focused on strengthening the country’s tourism infrastructure, promoting sustainable development and promoting cultural exchange, in line with Qatar ‘s vision.National 2030 Commenting on the press conference, His Excellency Mr. Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, President of Qatar Tourism, said: “The launch of the Qatar Stopover packages is a testament to the continued fruitful cooperation between Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways, which gives passengers a great opportunity to expand their travel experience by visiting Qatar. Recognising the richness and diversity of Qatar’s tourism experiences, we believe that Qatar’s ‘Stopover’ packages will resonate with visitors.” “It is essential that 2023 saw more than double the number of passengers and hotel nights associated with stopovers in Qatar compared to 2022, thanks to Qatar Airways’ growing network of more than 177 international destinations. January 2024 also saw another remarkable achievement, with the number of incoming visitors exceeding 700,000. …

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